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Kansas legislature

Kansas Legislature

Olathe legislator tries to head off Lawrence domestic partnership registry

City Hall still considering the possibility

February 1, 2007

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— A state legislator Thursday said he wants to prohibit the city of Lawrence and any other locality in Kansas from approving a domestic partnership registry.

Rep. Lance Kinzer, R-Olathe, has filed legislation -- House Bill 2299 -- which would prevent any city or county from establishing a domestic partner registry that "recognizes any domestic partnership not recognized under state law."

The proposed registry before the Lawrence City Commission would recognize same-sex partnerships as well as opposite-sex, unmarried partnerships.

A majority of commissioners have voiced approval of the registry, but have sought an attorney general's opinion on whether it would violate a Kansas constiutional amendment that bans same-sex marriage.

Kinzer said the proposed registry in Lawrence raises numerous legal questions.

"Domestic relationship law is really within the state purview," Kinzer said. He said those who want to change the law to allow domestic partnership registries should seek a statewide change before the Kansas Legislature.

He said an instance could arise where under the proposed Lawrence registry a same-sex couple would not have the same rights -- because of the state constitutional amendment -- as an opposite sex, unmarried couple.

State Rep. Paul Davis, D-Lawrence, described Kinzer's proposal as "meddling in a local issue."

"I don't see why the Legislature needs to address that issue. What is the state interest in preventing the city of Lawrence from creating a domestic partnership registry?," Davis said.

Comments

Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

Damn Republicans and their Big Government.

The best solutions come from the people. Whatever happened to Kansas' time-honored respect for local rule, individuality, and the motto live-and-let-live?

The Republican legislators' penchant for a big centralized government and state regulations governing matters of local and/or individual concern is disturbing.

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janeyb 7 years, 6 months ago

They favor local rule as long as it doesn't step on their Biblical toes.

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bethnbob 7 years, 6 months ago

Well, he won't get voted again.

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werekoala 7 years, 6 months ago

Man, am I glad I chose to be straight. . .

It was a tough decision, but finally I realized that Jesus will still love me if I do girls in the pooper, but not if I do boys there.

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Jamesaust 7 years, 6 months ago

Kansas Constitution: "Cities are hereby empowered to determine their local affairs and government...Cities shall exercise such determinations by ordinance passed by the governing body with referendum only in such cases as prescribed by the legislature subject only to enactments of the legislature of statewide concern applicable UNIFORMLY to all cities...Powers and authority granted cities pursuant to this section shall be LIBERALLY construed for the purpose of giving to cities the largest measure of self government."

Such a statute as here, if passed, would probably be unconstitutional as there is no uniform state law on zoning, or discrimination, or any other obvious topic.

If Kinzer wants his prohibition, he'll need to amend the Constitution to get it. Frankly, mandating a uniform definition of "family" throughout the state is probably opening more of a can of worms than most legislators will be willing to do.

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Jamesaust 7 years, 6 months ago

"....doesn't constitute the voices of the majority of residents of the city of Lawrence!"

I'm quite confident - quite! - that such a broad definition of "family" reflects the voices of the majority of residents in Lawrence.

Heck, I suspect that there's a clear majority in favor of marriage rights for same-sex couples, let alone such a minor zoning issue as this.

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fletch 7 years, 6 months ago

The GOP needs to remember that pillar of small government more often.

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Jamesaust 7 years, 6 months ago

Finally, I also note the similarity in what Kinzer seems to want to do with a measure taken by Colorado back in the 1990s.

The result is here: http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/romer.html

The United States Supreme Court struck it down as violating the United States Constitution. This situation isn't identical (the focus in Colorado was local bans on discrimination for homosexuals) but I would suspect there'd be the same outcome.

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Jamesaust 7 years, 6 months ago

Marion: "Amending the state constituion is not necessary; the language is already there."

What language is where? Please be more precise.

Are you putting forward the idea that the marriage amendment (a) restricts non-marriage situations, and (b) trumps other constitutional provisions without saying so?
In other words, the marriage amendment should be construed broadly as a policy matter and the local rule provision should be construed narrowly even though the text of the constitution states the contrary?

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Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

Maybe the honorable Rep. Kinzer will be drafting anti-miscegenation statutes next. The Kansas legislature - as bigoted as you think.

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Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

"This is the hangup on "domestic partner" registries; you can have one if you want but it has NO legal force of any kind and may not under Kansas law be used to grant the partners any rights at all."

Uh...no.

It just says that no legal relationships, other than marriage, shall be recognized by THE STATE as entitling the parties to the RIGHTS OR INCIDENTS OF MARRIAGE.

One, this is not the state we are talking about - it is the city. Maybe the county. Maybe a league of counties. :)

And two, it doesn't say all rights. It just says the "rights or incidents of marriage." Now, I am not sure, but I would wager the specific language like that has some sort of legal import that distinguishes it from the phrase "any rights at all."

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fletch 7 years, 6 months ago

"(b) No relationship, other than a marriage, shall be recognized by the state as entitling the parties to the rights or incidents of marriage."

The thing a lot of people forget is that this ammendment ended up killing common law marriages in Kansas. Two of my friends were in a common law marriage, and were shocked when the wife was dropped from her husband's health insurance because the state no longer regonized a common law marriage as legal. It didn't matter that they had been in a relationship for over a decade, had a child, and owned a home together. The state basically forced that they get formally married if they wanted to keep their health insurance, share custody of their child, and keep the mortgage on their house.

That's where narrow mindedness gets you.

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optimist 7 years, 6 months ago

Issues of this nature are a state issue because people regularly travel outside the city of Lawrence and as a result any "special rights" they have in the city of Lawrence are not recognized. Much like the concealed carry law statewide consistency should be adhered to for the sake of those who choose to exercise these privileges. Some issues should be and are the realm of the state as prescribed by the 10th amendment to the US Constitution.

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Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

The tenth amendment - relegated to a mere "truism" by our "Conservative"' justices.

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Bradley Kemp 7 years, 6 months ago

Marion:

I don't see how Kinzer's introducing a bill that would prevent Lawrence from establishing a registry proves that you were right in asserting that the registry would be contrary to the state constitution.

Kinzer, at least, would appear to disagree with you -- or else why would he propose a statutory obstacle to the registry?

(I don't want this to sound argumentative. I appreciate that you're on the right side of this issue, and have often enough expressed your support in articulate and persuasive language.)

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oldgoof 7 years, 6 months ago

I think I will put on my Judge Judy hat and rule on some of the statutory and constitutional questions here.....
. Goof/Judy to Marion: Jamesaust and Baille are correct on this one. Respectfully submitted, your interpretation of Sec. 16 would be found to be too broad. . Now, talk to the nice man with the microphone and pick up your check on the way out.

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Sandra Willis 7 years, 6 months ago

Fletch, Good points go to you. I have older relatives who agree with that comment, also.

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Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

I agree with your definition of "rights and incidents," Marion. Well, for the most part. :)

Seems to be that is substantially less than "all rights," though. For instance, seems arguable that contractual rights such as those that arise from an insurance contract that gives benefits to "partners" could use the registry to confirm such a relationship - thereby by covering the domestic partners regardless of the constitution or their bigotry of our friend from Olathe.

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daman 7 years, 6 months ago

What a huge waste of government time dealing with this issue. The Constitutional Amendment passed and our city government doesn't like it so they try to back door (pun intented) a same sex marriage registry (I don't care if it's not "limited" to gays, that's who it is intended for). Normally, I would emplore our city government to get back to work on real issues but the three knuckleheads have done enough damage already, I just want them to clog dance, smoke pot and take days off until they're out then let the new commish's do the real work.

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Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

If you can ban dope, you can ban cigarettes. Frankly, I am for treating the whole addiction issue as a public health problem.

However, last I saw, all the banning of the public burning of the toxic and addictive nicotine delivery agents was done at the local level.

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Jamesaust 7 years, 6 months ago

Marion - I understand you position better now and thank you for your reply.

Unfortunately, I still do not agree. The City is not defining marriage at all. Rather, as part of its zoning powers, it is defining "family" - a definition ALREADY so broad as to include SINGLE PERSONS.

As such, I don't see much issue here. As I noted, you only get to your result by reading the marriage business more broadly than any reasonable interpretation would and then wholly ignoring the contrary local rule requirement of "liberal" application. Determining whether persons in a household have a relationship is inseparably related to "single-family" zoning - the City MUST make a determination once it decides to create such zoning (the State of Kansas doesn't create this zoning).

(I also note that similar provisions in other states have also been narrowly interpreted - not that that fact binds any Kansas court.)

Finally, one further query: who do you believe has standing to file a suit against the City over this matter? who would the aggrieved party be? The AG would have such standing but I don't see him so inclined (Kline would have been).

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Jamesaust 7 years, 6 months ago

"Libs are breathing so heavy "

Excuse me! Keeping government out of people's bedrooms AND ensuring local control of local affairs are bedrock, non-negotiable CONSERVATIVE principles. No one can call themselves "conservative" without them.

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werekoala 7 years, 6 months ago

I will agree with Dambudzo in part - nether party is really consistent with its core values.

Republicans, supposedly in favor of small government, want state-wide laws that they like, such as regards teaching of evolution, sex ed, language laws, and definitions of marriage.

Democrats, supposedly in favor of big government, cry "self-determination" when they don't like what the Republicans in charge are doing.

My conclusion is that almost no one is across the board in favor of smaller government, otherwise the Libertarian party would be doing much better. They just want to object to certain parts of the "big government" than the other side.

Speaking of which - what happened to all those "I love my country but fear my government" bumper stickers I used to see back in the 90s? I bet they reappear like magic the day Hillary or Obama is elected.

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justthefacts 7 years, 6 months ago

Can we put all policy arguments about the pro/con of gay relationships, or the ability (or lack of ability) of the state legislature to impact city's powers to adopt a registry of same-sex couples or what political party or group of people are the most evil or meddling aside, for just a minute, please ......

Can someone please - simply and succinctly - explain what would change if the proposed registry would be kept by the city? What would happen? Would landlords be required to rent to same-sex partners? Would employers be required to provide insurance to same-sex partners in the same way they provide it persons in a recognized marriage relationship? Would the laws of wills and estates be changed by having your relationship listed on the registry? And what about the open records act; could anyone who wanted to do so obtain the registry and then start terrorizing the persons listed on it?

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Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

"If the constitution says that such contracts are against public policy then the contracts would be unenforceable..."

Really? And how often does that happen, Marion?

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Jamesaust 7 years, 6 months ago

"in short it means that any "rights" that a married couple have may not be granted to parties to any other kind of relationship."

(A) marriage isn't on the table here at all. (B) "the rights" means "all rights" not "any rights" - many connected people have rights that are also held by married people - joint owners of real property, or unmarried couples having custody of a child.

Finally, I note that even Kinzer seems to disagree with you - he definately thinks the matter isn't settled by the Kansas Constitution, or else he wouldn't have introduced this bill.

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ohjayhawk 7 years, 6 months ago

justthefacts - I think the answers to your questions are answered in this article.

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Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

What does the euphemism "it's" stand for, RT?

And you know the answer to most of those questions, LFT, Esq. It's "no."

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cutny 7 years, 6 months ago

Are you saying you want to come into my queer bedroom and watch me smoke Right_Thinker?

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Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

How do you differentiate "normal" behavior from "aberrant" behavior? I seem to recall reading an article about a study on gay sheep and how homosexuality seemed to be a fairly common event in the animal kingdom.

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EXks 7 years, 6 months ago

"When two queers marry......"

Gee, haven't heard the 1950's 'queers' label for quite some time...some language never dies.....

Ahhhhh, KANSAS, as BIGOTED (and ignorant) as you think! What a fitting state motto!!!

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Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

"[D]eed restrictions based on race, ethnicity and religion have been thus held."

OK. Sure. I am familiar with that. You can't discriminate based on race, ethnicity and so on. This law is different in that it sanctions such discrimination so one would think it was more limited - not that necessarily has much legal import although there are those who argue that it does.

But are you saying that contracts between an insurance company and two people who say they are in a "partnership" whether gay or straight will not be enforceable? What about agreements to buy a house together? Agreements to buy a car together? Agreements to adopt a pet together? I don't, Marion. I think saying the amendment is that broad is a stretch. I think it is probably a stretch some insurance company lawyer is going to make someday, but I am not convinced they win.

Guess we will have to wait and see.

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Jamesaust 7 years, 6 months ago

"contracts are against public policy"

There's a public policy in Kansas that says that the State has a rational interest in forcing a third party (insurance companies) from recognizing that two person, otherwise unmarried, not be considered to have an insurable interest in each other?

A) when did this happen? B) what would that rational interest be?

(BTW - covenants on property that conflict with public policy due to race are not void, they're just not enforced. Such covenants are not contracts.)

Marion - I'm unaware of any public policy voiding of contract that doesn't fall within these three categories, none of which apply here: 1. contract for criminal acts - e.g., a murder contract 2. contract to constrain the exercise of core liberties (including one's own) - e.g., selling your 'right to vote' 3. contract that frustrates the operation of the law (which varies considerably among the states) - such as shortening the application of the statute of limitations between the contracting parties, or unfairly voiding access to the courts.

Any example where a contract is voided "all the time" that falls outside of these 3 categories?

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ksmoderate 7 years, 6 months ago

Well, I say that rightthinker's homophobery stems from his fear of what he doesn't understand. That, and his Republicanism.

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Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

"I say two men engaging in intercourse is aberrant."

I know that is WHAT you say, RT. My question was HOW you came to the conclusion. What methodology did you use? What is your standard of measure? How do you differentiate between "'normal" sex and "abberrant" sex?

What do I say? I say study after study shows that homosexuality is largely genetic - just like heterosexuality. And I think what is "normal" sex for one person was statutory felony sodomy not so long ago.

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AreaMan 7 years, 6 months ago

Any room here for multiple-partner relationships to be registered?

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EXks 7 years, 6 months ago

RT....

1.. don't insult me with your feeble attempt to compare your bigotry and use of the 'queer' term to a television show that in itself dispells bigotry.

  1. who are you to say what is normal and aberrant? I can only guess from what source you derive your logic.

  2. would you define a man and woman engaged in fellatio or sodomy as normal or abberant?

what say you???

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kmat 7 years, 6 months ago

To all the homophobes on this post - please do a google search for santorum to see what you really are. No need to just search, hit the I'm feeling lucky button.

Whether or not you approve of anyone's lifestyle, it's not your place to judge. Those of you that are homophobes because you claim to be a Christian (and yes I do mean CLAIM) are the biggest hypocrits of them all. If you want to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, then you will love all and have no negative comments for anyone, regardless of their sexuality. Find one passage for me where Jesus said anything against gay people. I'll save you the trouble because you probably don't know that "good" book as well as you claim. Only the old testament refers to homosexuality. So, do you believe more in the old testament and the laws of the jews or the ways of Jesus?

How about this? Why don't you start living in the modern world? Why do you care if someone is gay, who they live with, if they get to share benefits, etc...? And this proposal wouldn't only affect gay couples. The only reason my husband and I got married (after many, many years of living together) was for the health insurance. It was ridiculous that we could be together for so long and still be denied basic rights without getting married.

Those opposed to this because they are giant homophobes need to learn to mind your own business. If you are so disturbed by the possibilty of gay people getting some basic rights in Lawrence, then I would suggest that you have much deeper issues and should really spend some time finding out why you are bigoted.

And to those with all the pot smoking comments - just what city do you think you live in? My god, this is Lawrence. It's hard to not find someone in this town that isn't high. It's a college town! It's a liberal town! Get over it. Maybe you need to get high so you chill out and quit hating gays.

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kmat 7 years, 6 months ago

"3. would you define a man and woman engaged in fellatio or sodomy as normal or abberant?"

I would define #3 as just plain fun!!!!! :-)

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Jamesaust 7 years, 6 months ago

Marion: "The consitution of Kansas prohibits certain things..."

It does not prohibit contracts between persons of the same gender. Nor is the subject matter at all similar to frustrating the operation of the law nor the examples I provided.

And it would be surprising as Art. I, Sec. 10 of the United States Constitition says "No State shall...pass any...Law impairing the Obligations of Contracts...." Nor would such a prohibition survive the 14th amendment's equal protection clause (nor perhaps the due process clause, nor perhaps even the petition clause of the 1st amendment).

Again, Any example where a contract is voided "all the time" that falls outside of these 3 categories?

(note: the issue isn't contracts here. rather, contracts are a side issue you've brought up re a query from Baille.)

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kmat 7 years, 6 months ago

I'm not promoting it (this town doesn't need the promotion), just commenting since many had to bring it up. Saying someone needs to chill and obviously can't chill out on their own isn't promoting it. Just pointing out something that might make them more tollerable. Me, I don't need substances because I enjoy sex, which I think many of you homophobes don't. Best high there is.

Loosen up people!!!! If you're oposed to all this stuff, then turn your head. Gays aren't trying to pull you into their lifestyle, they just want equal rights. In a nation that is supposedly about freedom (what a joke these days) we sure seem to be against all freedoms (except for those granted for god fearing, heterosexual bigots).

I'm constantly amazed that my elderly, extremely religious parents who have been married for 51 years think gays should be able to marry. How is it that they can be so open minded, yet younger people have such issues? It's not about the sanctity of marriage (another joke), it's about caring for someone else and being granted the same rights as others.

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ksmoderate 7 years, 6 months ago

Dambudzo:

People are afraid of homosexuality because they don't understand it. They don't understand that gay couples live and love just the same as straight ones do. They don't understand that gay people see other humans of their own sex the same way as heterosexuals see people of the opposite sex. They can't (or won't) wrap their brains around that, and that causes fear. Fear causes hate....oh, crap. I'm starting to sound like Yoda, aren't I.

Anyway. Hope that helps, Dambudzo?

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Tychoman 7 years, 6 months ago

Words can't describe how infuriated I am by this a** Kinzer. I'm speechless.

Against gay marriage? Don't fracking get one!!

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Tychoman 7 years, 6 months ago

Dogs do it as a greeting, you would do it because you're weird. No deal.

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Baille 7 years, 6 months ago

There is some heavy-duty logical reasoning there, RT. Thanks for the discussion.

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budwhysir 7 years, 6 months ago

Yep, the folks in Olathe have a large impact on what we right here in Lawrence. Isnt there a county line between us??

Politicaly speaking on this highly political matter of political boundries and political speaches

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budwhysir 7 years, 6 months ago

ESQ Im glad my views have always been unchanged, but I know exactly what you are saying.

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Jamesaust 7 years, 6 months ago

Marion: I beleive you are merely being argumentative and obstinate."

I'm tempted to say the same.

"I didn't write that contracts were voided outside of the three areas..."

I know. You wrote that they were WITHIN the three areas. That's b/s.

The registry isn't a contract. Its not recognizing any contracts. The contract side-issue arose over the question of third-parties (NOT government) that might choose (we do live in a free country, no?) to form contracts with persons on such a registry.

This is an important point.
I (random individual, insurance company, whoever) am free to enter into a contract with you and your partner that is every bit as enforceable as one that I might choose to enter into with you and your spouse. Whether the opposite two persons to this contract are married to each other, not married to each other, or even married to other, non-contracting persons MAKES NO DIFFERENCE in the validity of the contract. Period.

I'm agog that you are stating otherwise - please cite a single example where a contract has failed to be enforced because the other two parties to it were (or were not) married.

(sorry if you think it "obstinate" to ask for an example of your grandiose claim.)

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Jamesaust 7 years, 6 months ago

I should note in passing, I think the registry idea is a political gimmick tossed out by desperate politicians preceding an unfavorable election climate.

That said, they (and the City) have every right to do it.

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snowWI 7 years, 6 months ago

Why are so many people from Olathe so incredibly conservative? It seems that the politicians there have some kind of "moral" authority to tell others what to do.

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budwhysir 7 years, 6 months ago

I know ESQ no hard feelings here, I get along with everyone. I actualy think my county line theory is going to get us somewhere some day.

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